Winning leadership. What does this involve?

My fascination with winning was piqued early in life when I first experienced the emotion involved with winning a contest I wasn’t even aware I was involved in. Yes, this may sound odd, but the contest involved being compared against other swimmers in terms of how well we progressed as athletes that summer. The prize for winning this contest involved being given an engraved plaque that I was the number one swimmer that year. When my name was announced to walk up to claim my prize, the emotion I felt was one I had not experienced before, and this was what ignited my fascination with understanding more about winning. 

The expression “winning isn’t everything” is an interesting term, and I do agree with it. Namely because when I haven’t won something, I am much more introspective about what were the aspects that contributed to not winning? I can’t say I have always been as introspective about winning, but this does give me pause to consider this further. Which is exactly why I recently put my researcher hat back on, and dove back into an extensive research project I conducted during our Covid months. 

The research involved speaking with sports coaches at four different levels (e.g., high school, college, professional, Olympic), with the original intent to learn more about the contributions to team dynamics, motivation and performance. However, an interesting by-product of this research which had me dissect the research results differently, involved doing a comparative analysis of championship coaches responses to non-championship coaches. 

During the secondary and comparative analysis, I started to see a vast divergence in terms of how the championship versus the non-championship coaches were responding to my questions. In fact, in some cases, the responses were so stark, that I was pleasantly surprised by them. Reviewing this analysis allowed me to have clarity and begin to see a pattern in terms of how the two coaching groups operated, and provided me with MRI level insight into what was allowing them and their teams to reach championship levels in their respective sports. 

Having spent the majority of my career in business, I am accustomed to studying trends and leveraging both predictive analytics, but also my gut instinct to make decisions that will positively impact others. Ultimately to win at whatever business “contest” we happened to be in. Upon thinking about this further, I realized an interesting fact, and this was that there was a very similar comparison aspect in business and sports. This one comparative aspect is that very few people actually talk about, and it is about “how” to win. 

So, upon seeing the results from my research relating to what few people talk about in either business or sports, yet what everyone wants to better understand and know more about, is the “how” do you win? In fact, not just win, but win at the highest level within the category you are in. Many of them repetitively. Having experienced what I’ll call “repetitive winning” in the business world, I was able to clearly also see a strong correlation of the “how to win” between the winning business leaders and winning sports coaches. 

Now that I have what I’ll refer to as perceivably a formula and having potentially “cracked the code” on what could be considered a winning formula is exciting. However, it also comes with an enormous responsibility to help others understand and benefit from this, and I’ll also add in a dose of pressure. Pressure in the sense of not because I’m concerned about having others potentially not succeed and benefit from better understanding the “how” to win formula. Instead, my concern is with the reality that it might not be a formula everyone is comfortable with applying. 

If you think you are a leader or sports coach who could benefit from better understanding the formula to experience the “how” to win concept, I’ll provide you with some initial thoughts to consider. 

·      Yes, this will sound ridiculous, but ask yourself and your team whether you truly think you collectively have what it takes to win a championship?

·      Why do you want to win a championship? Be really clear on how you define this, as you may be surprised by the variations on why you, and those you lead have to say. 

·      There is a certain level of commitment you will need to have your entire team sign-up for to reach and have the “how” aspect of winning work for you. So, be prescriptive in terms of outlining what expectations you have to both meet and sustain the commitment required to reach the level you are seeking. 

·      As a leader, who can you count on for counsel when the pressure starts to really amp up, and is at a level you haven’t experienced before?

·      How would you rate your communication ability on a scale of 1-5, with five being the highest? If this is an area you suspect you need to fine tune and improve upon, it will be worth it to make an investment in doing so.

·      If you wouldn’t classify yourself as being open-minded, first ask yourself why you are not, and secondly, ask yourself if you have any intention of wanting to be this way.

·      How often are you able to truly be yourself in all of your interactions with others? Be completely honest with this response.

Being a “winning” leader or sports coach is what the majority of leaders and coaches will tell you they set out to eventually become. However, the reality is that claiming this descriptive word is much more difficult than most people can appreciate, but it is attainable. Yes, doing so will require you understanding and committing to applying a version of the “how” to do this which will work for your team, but it might be exactly what you and your team want to do. 

TAGS: #Leadership #Sportscoach #Success #Strategy #Motivation #Management #Teams #Team  #Teamdynamics #Howtowin #Winning #Business

How to make communicating with colleagues or teammates easier to do.

There are clearly some people who have a gift of being able to talk to just about anyone, or about anything. When you experience someone who has this ability, it’s analogous for me to watching ice dancing. I chose this analogy because watching ice dancing at the highest level of performance is incredibly elegant to watch, and the skaters make what they do look so easy. Although we can only imagine how much time and practice it took to get to this level. Especially since they are always one small slip away from potential disaster.

Conversations can be fluid or awkward, and similar to ice dancers, are ripe for potential slip ups. The difference between how the conversations are navigated and the comparison to ice dancers diverges in one area. This area is that the ice dancers are practicing one dance, and most of the variables they will be contending with are stable. However, with conversations, the variables, even with a practiced conversation is where the divergence occurs. This is due to the fact there are so many additional factors which could contribute to making the conversation more difficult than the ice dancing, and which are out of the conversationalist’s control.

An example of a factor which a conversationalist can’t prepare for is someone else’s mood. Or, knowing how the other person’s history on this topic might impact the outcome of it. Another challenge for conversations is the level at which someone is able to converse. If one person is a highly accomplished conversationalist and they are speaking to someone who isn’t, the flow and outcome of the conversation is going to be much different. Now consider two other  factors which will contribute to making the conversation more challenging.

The first factor has to do with hierarchy (e.g., work or sports team), and where each person in the conversation stands in this part of the equation. In this conversation scenario, the lower hierarchy person may not feel that they are able to say truly what they want to express. Perhaps out of respect, but also potentially out of fear of saying something which will lead to them losing opportunities for advancement, or worse, their role on a team or in the organization. Yes, these are extremes, but they are legitimate concerns people have when they are not equals in a conversation.

The second factor has to do with influence. Although logically you would think that in a hierarchical conversation that the higher-level person might have the advantage, this isn’t always true. In fact, it might be that the junior conversationalist has a higher ability to be more influential in their conversation style. If they do, this will provide them with an interesting advantage. An advantage that can offer them the skillset to have a stronger conversation flow and outcome which results in them obtaining either agreement. Or, the results of what they were seeking to have the conversation accomplish.  

Being able to maintain the right emotional level during a conversation is also key, but not easy to achieve. Especially if the topic is highly emotionally charged. Managing through an emotional conversation is never easy, yet it’s one that everyone both personally and professionally needs to be able to navigate through. The key in successfully getting through this type of conversation is to be honest and let the other person know you may be emotional during it. By preparing the person you will be speaking with that this isn’t going to be a neutral conversation, each of you will be able to let down your guard to have a more open discussion.

I’m not in HR, but I recently read a statistic from the HR Review. It noted that 48% of Millennials reported they are having a hard time communicating with colleagues. Reading this stat was what prompted me to consider both reasons why this was occurring, but more importantly, to offer some potential solutions to consider addressing this difficulty. Below are some of my ideas to help making communicating with colleagues, or your teammates less difficult.

  • Do you have some standard questions you can ask your colleague or teammate to open up the conversation? These of course would come after you genuinely asked them about how they are doing, and you carefully listened to what they said, and then responded accordingly. Most people will say they are doing “fine”, but occasionally they will tell you they are having a tough day.
  • If you are tripped up by not knowing what standard questions to ask, a few of them might be to inquire about how their day is, or how their weekend went. You could also ask them if they are working on anything interesting right now, or working on improving some aspect of what they do professionally. Another question which you can ask is “What advice they have for maintaining the energy level they do?“ This question will likely throw them off, but in a good way. Why? Because it is intended to be both a compliment, and provides them with an opportunity to share something more personal about themselves which each of you can benefit from.
  • Even if you don’t sense your colleague or teammate needs any help in their role, ask them if there is some aspect of what they do that they wish they could spend more time on, or have a higher level of support on? Listen carefully to their response, as there might be something they share with you that potentially you can help them with, or know someone who can.
  • One of my favorite questions to ask anyone is what travel plans they have? If they don’t have any, you can ask them where they might like to travel some day? This will open up an opportunity to proceed with asking numerous follow-up questions relating to why they chose to travel to where they did? What did they like about where they went? What did they learn from their travel to that location? Would they recommend going there? What would they do differently relating to that trip if they were to go back?
  • Another way of easing into conversations is to make sure your question is open-ended. In other words, don’t ask questions which can be responded to with one word.
  • Seeking to find out what you have in common with someone is always an ideal way to easily have a conversation with them. Since so many people have pets, find out if your colleague or teammate has a pet. Perhaps they don’t have one now, but maybe they did, or perhaps they are researching to find out which pet they would like to add to their life? If you have a pet, you can also talk about the various aspects relating to your pet.

Ideally and easily being able to communicate with someone has to do with being open minded enough to find topics of conversation you can talk about with ease. Or, that are neutral enough so that even if you have nothing in common, there are plenty of topics that you both will have an opinion on. Being a strong conversationalist, like my analogy to professional ice dancing takes practice for the majority of people to master. So be kind to yourself as you begin the journey of learning how to communicate with ease. You’ll get there.

TAGS: #Communication #Business #Strategy #Howtocommunicatebetter #Teams #Colleagues #Teammates #Motivation #Conversationalists #Tipsonhowtocommunicatewithothers #HR #Personaldevelopment #Professionaldevelopment #Management #Success #Millennials #Leadership

Stubborn? It’s not a good look. 

I’ve always been an optimist. So, when I hear someone expressing that something isn’t possible, my mind immediately begins to diverge into two directions. The first one is to think about why this was stated, and the second path has me considering whether all of the options have been explored to create an opportunity to make something possible.

My skepticism about whether all potential options have been investigated and applied may come from my family heritage of having an “inventors-like” mind. Or, possibly because of my innate curiosity about imagining why a solution has not been developed to attempt what others think can’t be achieved. Which, leads me to wondering if stubbornness could in fact be one of the reasons?

Fortunately, most people are not classified as being stubborn, but we all know someone who might have this adjective associated with them on a regular basis. Possibly without them being aware that others clearly see them being this way more often than not. The person who is unaware of themselves being stubborn might actually think they are just like everyone else. What they don’t realize is that being stubborn generally isn’t working in their favor.

An example of someone who is being stubborn could be that they are unwilling to consider, take or apply practical advice which could be highly adventitious to them. It can be highly frustrating in this scenario, especially when not taking the advice can have less than desirable consequences. However, we also need to factor in that some people learn via experiences, and failing to take advice and the outcome from this could actually result in a positive outcome for them. How? Because afterwards they could appreciate the value of considering to listen to, and ideally applying sound advice the next time a similar scenario arises. 

Perhaps you have heard the expression “you can lead a horse to water when they are thirsty, but you can’t make it drink it.” This expression is ideally aligned with people who are stubborn, because they often do the exact opposite of what they should be doing, primarily due to their stubbornness.  I personally have encountered a number of people who would be far happier, have an easier outcome in numerous scenarios, and much less stress if they would first recognize that their on-going stubbornness is one of the core reasons for many of their challenges and why they are often highly frustrated. 

Telling someone they are stubborn seldomly has any positive impact on someone changing from this disposition. It might make you feel better expressing this sentiment to them, but that’s not going to lead either of you anywhere you will want to end up. So, are there techniques that can be applied to help someone who is stubborn? Especially someone who is unaware of how they are presenting and interacting with others? Yes, there are, and below are some suggestions to ask them, or have them potentially consider. 

·      What is your definition of being stubborn?

·      Ask yourself why you are often considered by others to be stubborn?

·      Is being stubborn an easy excuse of your “why” you are not doing or achieving something you could be?

·      Have you thought about how being stubborn is impacting your relationships with others?

·      Could you potentially be unaware of the fact others consider you to be stubborn, and think you are acting differently than how you are being perceived?

·      Why wouldn’t you accept help, advice or guidance from someone more experienced or knowledgeable than you are that could positively impact you both personally, professionally or both?

·      Do you have an example of someone who others consider to be stubborn, and can’t see how you could be compared to them?

·      Providing you acknowledge you are stubborn; can you imagine the benefits of being less or not perceived as being a stubborn person? This applies to both your personal and professional life, as you might not be as stubborn, or stubborn in one of these scenarios. 

If redirecting energy from a trait such as stubbornness into more productive outcomes is possible, are you, or someone else you know ready to re-develop your person to experience the benefits of doing so? Or, will your stubbornness prevent you from being more happy, less frustrated and experiencing a higher quality overall mental health and well-being?

TAGS: #Leadership #Business #Success #Professionaldevelopment #Sports #Teams #Leaders #Sportscoaches #Coaches #Traits #Stubborn #Stubbornness #Overcomingstubborness #Solutions #Awareness #Selfawareness #Benefitsofbeinglessstubborn

Who are you? A simple, yet complex question.

When we are very young, it’s not uncommon to either have someone express to you what they think you will or should be doing professionally when you grow up. Perhaps you also had your own ideas of what that might include? Chances are also good, that what you thought you might want to do when you became an adult may have been absent of considering monetary factors.

In fact, when you were young and thinking about what you might like to “do” when you become an adult, it likely may have appeared to be slightly whimsical? Possibly even fun or exciting to think about the reality of being in that line of work. Some of the more traditional career options were potentially ones you thought about, and I’m going to venture to guess that your choice or choices had very little to do with concerning yourself about whether it would be a logical choice.

For a moment, suspend the idea of applying logic to a decision, and purely think about the emotional aspect of your thoughts. When you do this, you are far more likely to authentically tap into considering doing something that would make you happy. Perhaps even feel fulfilled, but when you are very young and thinking about potential career options, the beauty of this is that there are aspects of making these considerations which you were not second guessing, or heavily influenced by. Sure, there will be some exceptions, but do you remember the first time you told someone you wanted to do “fill-in-the-blank” when you grow up?

Personally, I distinctly recall telling someone what I wanted to do, and it was to design interiors. Specifically, campers or boats. For a point of reference, I didn’t have either of these items in reality, but I did have a version of these items in a toy format (e.g., my Barbie camper, and a small toy plastic boat). I would routinely take the boat to the beach and float it in the ocean and tidal pools, but I would leave the camper at home so it didn’t get sandy. I was fascinated with the possibilities of thinking about how much fun it would be to design the interiors of smaller spaces not traditionally used as a permanent home.

Now the question you might be asking yourself is why didn’t I pursue becoming an interior designer or architect? I actually did consider this when it was the right time to do so, but since math wasn’t a strong suit of mine at the time, this factor alone prevented me from pursuing this option. However, this isn’t where this part of the story ends, and in fact it is a great jumping off point to orient back to understanding who you are.

About ten years ago I had an experience which changed and provided me with an opportunity to re-think the question of who am I, what am I good at, and what do I want to do next? In reality, this is a lot to consider, and it takes both patience and persistence to pursue figuring out and determining an answer to this question. Yet, that’s exactly what I did. The best news is that I can precisely, confidently and credibly answer the question of “who I am” when someone asks me this question. Are you ready or willing to be able to do the same thing?

Before I proceed, I want to comment that I am I’m always surprised by how many people are hesitant to take the time to explore and navigate understanding who they are, what motivates them, what makes them happy and how do they want to apply their skills in a meaningful and purposeful way. Is this you, or someone else you know?

If you would like some tips to apply or share, below are some ideas I have for you to get started on helping you to be able to sort out who you are, or perhaps on your way to becoming.

  • Make a list of things that make you happy that you have control over applying to your life, and a list of things that diminish making you happy. From the second part of the list, what can you do to either reduce or eliminate that item?
  • Are there people in your life that contribute to enhancing or detracting from it? Is it possible to prune out the people who are not enhancing your life? Are you prepared to do this soon or now?
  • Can you credibly answer the question that you are 100% certain you know and can tell another person who you truly are? More importantly, do you know why, or can you factually back up why you are who you say you are?
  • On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest, how important is it for you to be able to articulate, appreciate and understand who you are? If this is important to you, yet you haven’t done anything to support being able to both understand and explain to yourself or others who you are, are you willing to put effort into accomplishing this?
  • Looking forward, what can you do today to propel yourself towards being in a better place from a mental health perspective. No one is immune from improving this area of their life.
  • If you were to be interviewed with the purpose of aligning who you are, with opportunities in your life that would align well with who you are, how would you describe yourself?
  • Is it possible for you to help someone else describe or understand better who they are? When you can you offer to help them with this exercise? Helping someone else, might help you to get started sorting this out.

Understanding thoroughly who we are, what we are good at, what motivates us and makes us happy is something I wish everyone will be able to achieve in their life. As someone who has mastered this exercise of self-awareness myself, I can assure you it is one of the best and most empowering and liberating gifts you can give to yourself.

TAGS: #Selfawareness #Personaldevelopment #Confidence #Empowerment #Leadership #Business #Motivation #Helpingothers #Whoareyou #Understandingwhoyouare

Are new leadership styles emerging?

We are at an interesting point in time in terms of the various traditional, and non-traditional leadership styles I have been seeing emerge over the last decade. More specifically, since our experience with Covid. Like it or not, the Covid period offers a distinct point in time that can referenced to see a turning point in some new leadership styles emerging, while others are being more critically considered whether they are still relevant.

When I consider the variety of leadership styles that are prevalent, I also think about the trends and circumstances that impact their adoption. This leads me to also consider why and how some leadership styles are embraced and have longevity power, and why others, like styles, fizzle out. From a wide-angle perspective, some of the leadership styles that in the past were impactful, are now experiencing a diminished return on their effectiveness. The good news is that there are some new ones that appear to be more promising. 

If you think that newer leadership styles might only be embraced by a younger generation, you would be mistaken. This has to do more with the ability for a leader having the capacity to be flexible and open minded with the leadership style they have shifted towards embracing. The two qualities of being flexible and open minded are independent of one’s chronicle age, and in my experience and through research I have conducted, serve leaders well who possess them. 

In terms of considering leadership styles, there is an interesting phenomenon occurring. It has to do with how and whether leaders, and those they lead are supported in embracing a change in their leadership style. This support doesn’t always occur, and a leader can find themselves in a highly frustrating challenge of trying to pivot their leadership style. Of course, this would ideally be for the better, and to be more positively impactful from an outcome and performance perspective. 

Many would agree that attempting to make changes in any given situation, can be difficult to accomplish, and also for the majority of people, isn’t a comfortable process to go through. So, this is one of the reasons attempting to make changes is often avoided. It’s simply easier at times not to make any changes, even it would be ideal to do so. 

Reality and being ideal are broad circumstances that leaders face and must contend with when they are going through the process of embracing a different leadership style. In many circumstances, a leader who either gains awareness that their current leadership style isn’t effective anymore, may need support in coming to terms with and accepting this reality. While there are other leaders who have a pulse on changes they will either need to make themselves,  and elegantly shift and begin the process of morphing into a new leadership style. One that will perhaps suits them better, and that more importantly, serves the needs of those they lead in a more productive manner. 

In terms of the different leadership style trends I am beginning to see emerge, they can be organized into some distinct categories. The first category is oriented around the leader taking an approach to having a higher awareness of who they are as a leader, and embracing and leveraging this knowledge in a tangible way. This type of leader is also acutely aware of how their style impacts others, as they are also attuned to understanding those they lead on a very different level. One that embraces and places an emphasis and focus on others abilities, versus investing time in fixing others deficits.

Another category of leadership I am seeing emerge is that leaders are becoming more approachable, and allowing others to see them as a person first, and a leader second. They are comfortable in their abilities, and have a balanced approach to making decisions based on both data analysis, but ultimately rely upon their gut instincts in all areas of decision making. 

The third leadership style trend I have seen emerge post Covid, is leaders who are allowing themselves to be more vulnerable. This doesn’t mean they have a reduced sense of power due to being this way, it is instead an approach which allows them to have a different lens on all scenarios they will have an impact on. Their vulnerable style also factors in having a more realistic sense of having insight into where there may be opportunities for improvement and innovation. A powerful combination which is also highly motivational for both the leader and those they lead. 

A fourth category is a leader who is hyper focused on what their purpose is in the context of how they go about, and why they are in their leadership role. This style is widely appealing, and also sustainable. However, it isn’t a style that has been embraced by more profit focused organizations or numerous sports teams. Although from a logical perspective, it may not make as much sense, as it is an emotional style, but then again, emotional styles when leveraged correctly can be enormously powerful and effective. Consider any emotional based advertising, and the impact it has on both your recall, and greater sense of supporting the brand or service being offered. 

If you are a leader, or an emerging one, here are some actions you can take if you are seeking to consider either adopting one or a combination of the emerging leadership styles I am seeing. 

·      Ask yourself why you want to change your leadership style? Is it because you no longer deem it to be impactful, or representative of who you are?

·      What is your self-awareness level on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest? 

·      If your self-awareness level isn’t where you want it to be, are you willing to pursue finding options on how to increase your level?

·      How will your team be better off by altering your leadership style?

·      Are there aspects of your current leadership style which can be slightly modified to either augment your style, or transition to a new one that will be more impactful?

·      What type of leadership style is the most appealing to you, but yet you can’t imagine being able to embrace it yourself?

·      How would you rate your level of being a vulnerable leader on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest? 

·      Realistically, how long, and how much effort are you going to need to put into modifying your current leadership style?

No one is perfect, and there isn’t a perfect one size fits all leadership style either. However, the quest should be to find a leadership style that allows you to be an inspiring, impactful and an authentically oriented leader. One that can evolve and embrace a having a growth mindset that serves you well, and those you lead even better. 

TAGS: #Leadership #Teams #Business #Motivation #Inspiration #Success #Leadershipstyles #Purpose #Leadershipalignment #Vulnerability #Impact #Leadershipimpact  #Sportsteams #Sportscoach #Leader

Copyright Market Me Too.